Our Story – “There’s no such thing as easy love.”

Posted: June 10, 2008 in Calvin, Drama, Journal, Memory Lane, Warm Fuzzy

(Here’s the prologue, here’s part one, plus the editorial note, here’s part two, here’s part three, and here’s part four.)

It killed me that right after I made up my mind to stick it out, Calvin decided to end things between us. My life likes to inflict me with ironic little digs like that. I went through a period of time where I would alternate (day by day, sometimes hour by hour and even minute by minute) between grief, anger, optimism, anxiety, back to grief, back to anger. I just could NOT for the life of me imagine my life without Calvin in it. I was simultaneously understanding of and angered over Calvin’s decision. Understanding because twenty years of history with his wife, and two children, are a lot to fight for. Angered because, well, he didn’t make the decision I REALLY wanted him to make, and also because he would now have to pretend to be someone he was not. Staying with his wife was his right and his decision to make, but he and I both knew that if he was going to make their relationship work, he was going to have to suppress every bit of himself that made him who he was and put on the act of a lifetime. For the REST of his life.

Despite Calvin’s wife’s insistence that we never speak to or see each other again, Calvin and I continued to see one another while at work. He told me that there was no way that he could completely cut me out of his life, and he needed at least our friendship to continue. I understood and wanted that too, though it made it harder to “move on”, away from him and toward a life without him. But some Calvin is infinitely better than NO Calvin. (And now, I can happily say that ALL Calvin is infinitely better than SOME Calvin.)

Christmas of 1997 was a pretty dark time for me. No family, few friends (all of whom had plans), by myself and wishing for Calvin. I have to admit that I was feeling pretty damned sorry for myself. I planned to go to Midnight Mass with my boss on Christmas Eve (I’m pretty much the opposite of Catholic, but I’ve never been to a mass and I was curious), and then the next day go to a family dinner with an acquaintance from work who took pity on me and very generously included me in on her family’s plans.

At about 9:00 on Christmas Eve I got a phone call from Calvin, which surprised the hell outta me. I expected that he would have been over at one of his wife’s sister’s homes for the typical present-opening extravaganza for all of the children in their huge extended family. I didn’t know this until he told me just a moment ago, but he didn’t go because his wife basically told him he wasn’t welcome. So! He decided to call and ask me if I wanted to meet him somewhere for just an hour or so. Since the answer to THAT particular question was a resonding, “YES!”, we met at The Village Inn for some coffee and pie and conversation and RELIEF that we were in one another’s presence. An all-too-short hour later, we parted ways again; sad that we were parting ways, again. That visit might have hurt more than it helped, but there was no way either one of us would have passed up the opportunity.

My boss flaked out on me on the mass thing, so that’s one curiosity still unsatisfied. I just went home and went to bed.

The next morning I got a quick “Merry Christmas” phone call from Calvin (I just asked him how he managed to do that without his wife finding out, and he said he went out into the garage to make the call), before I went off with my co-worker. It was lovely but lonely, with all the couples and family and togetherness that made me just sad and resentful, though I tried to suppress it and just be frickin’ pleasant to be around. THEN, to top it off, since I was feeling woeful anyway, I went to see “Titanic” by myself in the movie theater. Even though I knew how it ended (well, duh). It just suited my mood – death by popsicle. Feh. Merry Fucking Christmas, woesy woesy me.

Anyway, all parties involved managed to get through the holidays. I HATED regular weekends, long weekends, vacations and holidays since it meant that I would be away from work and therefore not have the opportunity to see Calvin. Now, of course, the reverse is true. I HATE work days, because I still just want to spend all my time with Calvin.

(Readers: “I think I’m gonna McVomit.” Laura: “Good line! Also, hush you.”)

ANYWAY. After he decided to really commit to staying with his wife, Calvin would tell me about weekends spent alone, shut in his bedroom wearing the same clothes all day every day, not bathing, getting covered in food detritus and spilled beer. He and his wife didn’t have any interaction and what little they did have was sniping and abrupt. In order to avoid any confrontation or fights he hid out in the bedroom most of the time, which meant that his time with the kids was also effected. He’d sleep on the couch and she’d take the bedroom, or vice-versa. He avoided his wife and tried to avoid thinking at all. He was depressed, gaunt, and tired. He started drinking more than usual. It was obvious the situation was wearing on him even worse than it was wearing on me. I could separate myself from the situation when I wanted or needed. I didn’t have to live in a household (anymore) with a person I didn’t want to stay married to.

As for myself, I nested. I got a puppy (Gypsy). I hung out with friends. I went to the gym. I read a LOT. I went on a few dates, and told Calvin about them. None of them were ever serious at all, and none of them even progressed to the point of a good-night kiss (a couple, in fact, I didn’t even let walk me to my front door at the end of the evening… GACK. I wrote about several of them here, if you’re looking for some entertainment). As you can imagine, Calvin did NOT like hearing about my dates with other guys, but what was there to do? He’d made his decision, he knew I needed to move on, and much as it hurt him he tried to be a good friend to me, and be supportive. But my boy Calvin is not exactly adept at hiding his feelings and opinions.

I must admit that it gave me just a TEENY amount of satisfaction that he felt jealous. Just a WEE little bit. A skosh, really.

A couple of things about the next several months stand out in my mind. First, the fact was that the more time Calvin and I spent apart, the more we pined for one another. Any grand efforts to “move on” were just a farce; we were fooling ourselves even as we tried to convince one another. Second, you can’t just “turn off” love. Once it’s felt, it’s there to stay. ESPECIALLY unrequited love. You can logic yourself and lecture yourself unto death, tell yourself it’s for the best and to move on, but the fact remains that emotions are NOT ruled by logic. So, good luck with that.

We went through some HEROIC efforts to communicate with one another. Calvin would call me when he was out driving around, running errands, or otherwise out from under his wife’s scrutiny. He’d leave me voicemail messages if I wasn’t home, and I saved them for MONTHS. I tended to hover around the house, near the phone, in case he did call. I would visit him at the AcronymCo site on Sundays – his work day, my weekend day. He let himself into my house on Valentine’s Day of 1998 (I’d long ago given him a key) and left tulips in my kitchen to find when I got home from work. I sent him cards that I would find that made me think of him, through interoffice company mail. I still have every single e-mail message he ever sent me. Every meeting, every conversation, every message left was bittersweet. All we ever talked about and thought about was how miserable we were without one another, and how badly we still wanted to be together.

I toyed with the idea of moving away from Arizona. I knew that if I was ever even going to get a LITTLE distance between Calvin and my emotions, I’d have to physically be very far away from him. I thought about going back home to Maine, and I even more seriously thought about taking an ex-pat assignment with AcronymCo and going to Ireland for a couple of years.

I didn’t take the final step to pull the trigger on either plan. Mostly I was unprepared to throw my life up in the air once again, what with all that had happened over the preceding few years. In part, though, my friendship with and love for Calvin caused me to pause in the decision-making. I think deep down I just knew that things weren’t over between us quite yet.

To be continued…

  1. Kim says:

    Haha, Titanic on Christmas Day by yourself. That ranks up there with the day my ex and I broke up and I decided to watch Love Story for the first time.
    God-DANG, I’m glad this story has a happy ending!

  2. Taoist Biker says:

    So, what constitutes a McVomit? Just checkin’…

    And yeah, boy, was the Titanic solo a bad move.

  3. crisitunity says:

    1. I’ve been to midnight mass on Christmas, with BF’s Catholic family. It’s not terribly different from a regular sermon.

    2. “Death by popsicle” – if I’d been drinking anything it would have gone up my nose.

    3. Poor Calvin. I know I’m reading about her in a period of great stress, but his ex sounds like a piece of work.

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